We are ready to confront any water crisis: El-Sisi

State-run daily Al-Ahram quoted Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi as describing the plant, being built near Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea, as the ‘largest project in history’ of water distillation and sewage treatment. (Reuters)
Updated 09 January 2018

We are ready to confront any water crisis: El-Sisi

CAIRO: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said he would not allow a water crisis to happen in Egypt, stressing that the authorities are fully prepared to confront any such problem the country may face.
El-Sisi added that he did not want to talk more about the Egyptian preparations. The Egyptian president was most likely referring to a possible shortage of Egypt’s share of water from the Nile if Ethiopia starts storing water behind its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam without reaching an agreement with Egypt on the rules of the operation of both the dam and water.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri said during a news conference with his Irish counterpart in Cairo that his country has not received a reply from Ethiopia or Sudan so far to Egypt’s request to involve the World Bank as a neutral party in the stalled negotiations between the three countries on the dam crisis.
Shoukri presented this proposal to the Ethiopian authorities during his visit to Addis Ababa in December last year. “Egypt’s goal is not just to maintain its share of water in the context of the stalled negotiations with Ethiopia and Sudan, but to develop ways to exploit this share and to maximize efficiency in exploiting Egypt’s water shares as well,” El-Sisi said as he inaugurated some construction projects on Monday.
El-Sisi announced that three months ago Egypt started the implementation of the largest cost-effective water treatment and desalination project in its history.
He said the cost of this program exceeds 70 billion Egyptian pounds ($3.96 billion). “Water for agriculture and drinking must be secured for all Egyptians.”
He added that the implementation of these mega projects for water treatment “is not for luxury,” rejecting claims that these projects have no direct benefit for citizens. He stressed that “preventing the occurrence of a water crisis comes first in the interest of the citizen.”
The Egyptian president pointed out that desalination plants being established depend on the triple water treatment technology, and that water treated under such technology has no risk on the citizens’ lives.
On the other hand, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri said Sudan’s decision to withdraw its ambassador for consultation is fully evaluated by Cairo as taking action against this development.
Shukri stressed that Egypt values its relations with Sudan, but that the direction of relations needs to be corrected so that there will be no negative effects on the peoples of the two nations.

Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

Updated 14 min 33 sec ago

Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

  • The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah
  • Houthis were blamed for an attack on a UN convey on Thursday

 NEW YORK: UN experts monitoring sanctions against Yemen are recommending that the Security Council urge the Houthis to respect the neutrality and independence of humanitarian workers.

The Associated Press has obtained the nine recommendations the panel of experts made in their latest report to the council.

The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah, key to the delivery of 70 percent of Yemen’s imports and humanitarian aid, and arrange a withdrawal of rival forces from the area agreed to by the government and the Houthis on Dec. 13.

While the agreement in Stockholm was limited, if fully implemented it could offer a potential breakthrough in Yemen’s four-year civil war.

The experts asked the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Yemen to engage with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s office, Yemen’s government and donors to “enhance” the UN mission inspecting vessels heading to ports in Yemen for illegal arms so it can “identify networks using false documentation to evade inspection.”

They also suggested that Guterres organize a conference with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as well as other “key actors to best manage cash flows and imports of goods,” using the principles of the UN Global Compact on how companies should conduct business.

And the experts recommended that the secretary-general ask the UN inspection mission and monitors at the port of Hodeidah “to share information on potential cases of acts that threaten the peace, stability and security of Yemen,” including violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, the UN arms embargo, and obstructions of humanitarian assistance.

The experts also asked the sanctions committee to consider sending three letters. One would be to Abu Al-Abbas, a militia commander in the flashpoint city of Taiz, asking him to transfer artifacts and items from the Taiz National Museum in his custody to Yemen’s government. 

A second would be to alert the International Maritime Organization to “the risks posed by anti-ship cruise missiles and water-borne improvised explosive devices in the Red Sea and to encourage it to discuss these threats with the commercial shipping industry with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”

The third would be to alert the International Civil Aviation Organization of the risks posed by drones and munitions to civil aviation, particularly near busy international airports on the Arabian Peninsula “and encourage it to discuss these threats with airport operators and airlines with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”